CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Time Warner Cable will soon charge its 15 million customers for watching sports as the major cable provider tries compensating for the rising costs of broadcasting local channels and athletic programming.

Effective Jan. 1, the cable company will charge subscribers a new $2.75-per-month fee for sports programming. Other changes include a 9-month-old broadcasting TV surcharge increasing from $2.25 to $2.76 per month, and an $8-per-month Internet modem lease, up from $5.99.

Subscribers who pay for HBO movie channels selectively on an “a la carte” basis will see those rates increase on their bills from $14.99 to $16.99. But, customers who get those channels as part of a package deal will not be charged more.

The rate hikes come after Time Warner, which earlier this year announced a proposed $45 billion merger with Comcast, invested millions into deploying new modems to support faster Internet speeds, said Scott Pryzwanski, company spokesman.

The higher leasing fee helps pay for the new equipment, and for maintenance on modems that malfunction, he said. Subscribers can avoid the fee by purchasing their own modems.

But, there’s no opting out of the sports programming fees. Most of the networks Time Warner Cable carries, Pryzwanski said, don’t allow providers to offer channels on a standalone basis. The cost to Time Warner for carrying sports networks has gone up by 91 percent since 2008, and the fees the provider pays to show local channels have soared by 60 percent over the past two years, the company says. Both sports-specific and broadcast TV fees are common among major TV providers, including Time Warner’s competitors. DirecTV charges about $3 for sports programming and Wow! TV charges nearly $8 for transmitting local networks.

ESPN is, by far, the most expensive channel for cable and satellite providers. ESPN charges companies $6.04 a month per customer, followed by TNT at $1.44 per customer and the NFL Network at $1.22 per customer, said Derek Baine, research director at media research firm SNL Kagan.

Prices for Time Warner’s cable and Internet package deals will not change, he said.

But that’s little comfort for Charlotte’s John Shaw, who balked when he got his cable bill Thursday and saw the new charges. He said he and his family might keep TWC’s Internet service, buy an antenna for his TVs and subscribe to Hulu or Netflix to fill in the gaps. That will reduce his TV and Internet bill to $70 per month, down from about $135, he said. He’s also considering subscribing to AT&T, which also announced price hikes for next year.

“Time Warner Cable is out of control with these insane increases,” said Shaw, 48. “I intend to cancel effective Jan. 1, 2015.”